No one knew what MAL was, how it was formed, and why in the universe it existed in the first place. Its primitive form, according to the earliest record, was firstly discovered by the House of Kuros, a spacefaring race dominant in th Serpents System in the year of 2311. It was a revelation, or more suitably a curse, to the people of Kuros.
Located forty light years away from the Capital, Kurosians planned a few expeditions to MAL. Spaceships, usually called spindles or needles for its long and thin shape, were sent to explore and research the mysterious object. Three thousand intellectuals of the highest caliber spent years on the MAL surface, examining and checking the artefacts on MAL.
As written in the first book on MAL in the year of 2324, MAL was a rogue planet without any parent star. Its formation was unlikely due to the usual accretion of matter as evident by the different compositions found in the ground sample on MAL and nearby asteroids. It has no atmosphere nor magnetosphere, but contains an unknown highly energetic source at its core. Its existence was a complete mystery.
Running out of patience, the House decided to put a halt on the research due to the lack of progress. More than half of the scientists and engineers were scheduled to return. Their tentacles, as slippery as it might look, worked wonder on the command consoles, sending their encrypted data back to their servers on the spindles through the threads. Then, it happened.
Flames of hundred metres tall burst out from the surface of MAL, engulfing everything with its fiery tongues. As bright and blazing as a burning star, the fire embraced whatever it touched and burned them from within. The Kurosians waiting on the Starport were the first ones to witness the sudden twist of fate. They scrambled on the floor and squirmed in pain before they passed out. The flames left nothing but their cries.
Nothing was salvaged from MAL except some preliminary data carried back by the vacant spindles from the burning planet. The subsequent remote sensing detected the planet was not deserted anymore – blocks of grey structure tower on the surface, lined up in a hexagonal pattern. They were simply called the Machines, and their computing power was only discovered another fifty years later in an expedition led by the Kurosian chief scientist Xul.
(To be continued)